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Tolls to increase by 5% on the Pennsylvania Turnpike

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The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) approved another significant toll increase that will go into effect in early 2023.

On August 2, 2022, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) approved a 5% toll increase for 2023 for all E-ZPass and Toll By Plate customers.

This marks the fifteenth year in a row that tolls have increased on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Following the toll increase, the most-common toll for a Class-5 tractor trailer will increase from $13.70 to $14.40 for E-ZPass and from $28 to $29.40 for Toll By Plate.

The new toll rate will go into effect on January 8, 2023, at 12:01 a.m.

The PTC explained that the annual toll increases are due to financial obligations put in place in 2007, requiring Turnpike officials to pay millions per year to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. From the PTC:

Act 44 of 2007 required the PA Turnpike to transfer between $900 and (more recently) $450 million annually to the Commonwealth to support transportation projects statewide.

In the 15 years since Act 44 of 2007, the PA Turnpike has transferred nearly $8 billion in funding to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation — the vast majority of which was in the form of borrowing (issuance of bond debt) that must be repaid by the PTC over a 30-year period. 

Up until this year, the PTC’s annual requirement to the Commonwealth had been $450 million. But as of July 1, that dropped to $50 million per year in cash proceeds — no further bond issues — because of PA Act 89 of 2013. Due to the terms of the Act-44 bonds, the PTC’s debt service will continue to rise even though borrowing has ended, growing to an annual maximum of $600 million by 2038 before it starts to decrease.  

“The PTC has been forced to increase tolls annually through the foreseeable future to meets its financial obligations under Act 44 of 2007, said PTC CEO Mark Compton. “It’s worth noting that, even with these ongoing annual increases, our per-mile toll rate continues to be below the midline compared with rates of other U.S. tolling agencies.” 

The PTC says that they’ll keep increasing tolls for the foreseeable future, but at a slower rate in years to come. The PTC’s plan calls for future toll increases of 5% through 2025, 4% in 2026, 3.5% in 2027, then 3% annually from 2028 to 2050.  

A 2021 study ranked the Pennsylvania Turnpike as the most expensive toll road in the world.

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